updated 7/7/2008 9:34:33 PM ET 2008-07-08T01:34:33

Leaders of the Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians and the Riverside County Sheriff's Department signed a federal mediation agreement Monday designed to improve communication and ease tension between them.

The agreement, brokered by the U.S. Department of Justice's community relations service, comes after three people were killed on the reservation in shootouts with deputies.

The most recent shootings in May led Tribal Chairman Robert Salgado to accuse deputies of coming to the reservation to "blow people away." He referred to the local sheriff's station commander as "General Custer."

The agreement calls for the tribe and deputies to designate emergency contact numbers and to establish a reverse 911 system so police can notify residents of emergencies.

The tribe will train deputies on Soboba history and culture, participate in the Sheriff Department's citizen academy and post visible street numbers on their homes.

On May 13, deputies killed a man and woman after the pair opened fire with assault rifles on a tribal guard station.

The week before, deputies killed a man who opened fire on them on the reservation. That man's brother died in a gunfight with deputies in nearby Valle Vista in 2002. They were sons of a former tribal chairwoman.

The federal agreement is voluntary and does not admit wrongdoing by any party.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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